So, what does this mean for our clients? For every participant at our educational group meetings (crops tours, field days, etc.), we are required to send $10 back to the Extension Service. This means that we will have to add $10 to the registration fees that you would normally pay. I hope that this will not deter anyone from attending our programs, as the information that we provide can be far more valuable than this nominal fee increase.
Dry conditions bring increased wildfire threats to South Texas
As drought-like conditions continued for much of Texas, so did the threat of wildfire, according the Texas AgriLife Extension Service and Texas Forest Service personnel.
The Forest Service warned that as of about midday, today, there would be “extremely critical fire weather conditions … west of Big Bend, San Angelo and Wichita Falls, including major cities such as Lubbock, Childress, Abilene, Midland, Odessa and Amarillo.”
The predictions were based on a combination of conditions, including higher than normal temperatures and winds, low relative humidity and a plentitude of dry grass in pastures and rangeland.
The Forest Service reported it put fire-fighting equipment — bulldozers, fire engines and aircraft — in place for the Tuesday threat.
Meanwhile, much of the rest of the state remained dry, including South Texas.
“Coming into March, South Texas received less than 25 percent of the normal rainfall,” said Dr. Megan Dominguez, AgriLife Extension range specialist, Corpus Christi. “A lot of the farmers and ranchers are concerned, and there’s been some delay in crop planting.”
Dominguez said that though there were some scattered rains in early to mid-March, which greened up pastures and rangeland grasses, but for the most part, there has not been enough moisture to promote vigorous growth.
Despite the rain, the danger of wildfire remains high with numerous red-flag warnings, especially out west, she said, but some ranchers have been able to do control burns when wildfire danger was low.
“This has really helped to get rid of that high amount of weed and grass growth from last year,” Dominguez said. “I would encourage anyone to do the same — if the weather conditions become right.”
Dominguez said there were signs the La Nina current, to which the drought conditions are attributed, is weakening. In the meantime, she recommended ranchers keep stocking rates conservative until they know what the weather is going to do. With cow prices as high as anyone can remember, trimming down herds shouldn’t be too economically painful, she noted.
“Getting rid of cattle this time of year when you’re concerned about precipitation is not a bad deal,” she said.
Forage Economics and the Basics of Forage Management, March 30, 2011.
Dr. Larry Falconer, Extension Economist, and Dr. Dan Fromme, Extension Agronomist, will discuss the economics of growing forage for grazing and haying and the basics of growing forage properly in South Texas. The specialists will utilize new research and the Karnes/Wilson forage information to conduct the seminar. The seminar will be held at the Falls City Community Hall at 7:00 p.m. 2 General CEU’s will be offered. There will be a $10.00 registration fee for this program.
Weed of the Week: Retama
Description: Retama is a green-barked shrub or small tree in the Legume family. It grows 10 to 15 feet tall and has slender, spreading branches with feathery foliage. The trunks and branches are armed with needle-sharp spines that are turned up slightly.
Retama leaves are located alternately along the stems and are twice compound, with one or two branches and many leaflets per branch.
The yellow flowers have five petals, one of which has red spots. The fruit is a brown, many-seeded legume up to 4 inches long.
Retama leaves are sometimes browsed by white-tailed deer, and the fruit is eaten by deer and other mammals and birds. Retama grows in moist, poorly drained areas.